Ice Hockey

Sophomore defenseman Nick Blankenburg scored the game-tying goal against Notre Dame on Saturday.

Mel Pearson has spent the last couple of weeks emphasizing Michigan’s need to get more offensive output from its defensemen. In Saturday night’s win over then-No. 14 Notre Dame, Pearson saw what he’d been pushing come to fruition.


SOUTH BEND, Ind. — When the second period started, the Wolverines’ bench was missing a familiar face.


Eleven weeks ago, that kind of fluky goal to start a game was the Wolverines’ undoing on the road at Western Michigan. But Saturday night, Michigan (9-11-2, 4-7-1-0) came back to complete just its second sweep of the season, beating the Fighting Irish, 3-1.

Nick Pastujov scored a power play goal in the first period to give Michigan a decisive lead on Friday.

The movement of the puck spread the defense open, leaving Nick Pastujov open down low at the base of the net. Recognizing this, Michael sent the puck to his brother, who swiftly turned, pulled back and lifted the puck over the shoulder of Morris, converting the man-advantage in 18 seconds. Pinpoint execution for a goal that would give Michigan a decisive lead in an eventual 3-0 win over Notre Dame.


And though the Wolverines’ power play didn’t find the same success on its other opportunity of the night, it didn’t matter. The defense and penalty kill unit stayed steady, holding the Fighting Irish empty handed from their three chances to help Michigan (8-11-2 overall, 3-7-1 Big Ten) notch a 3-0 victory.

The Michigan hockey team faces a challenge in Notre Dame goaltender Cale Morris this weekend.

It has yet to be unveiled how exactly the Wolverines will fare against No. 14 Notre Dame. This weekend in South Bend will be the first indicator of how the two teams really match up.

Graduate transfer forward Jacob Hayhurst has just five points in 20 games this season for Michigan.

High expectations were set for Hayhurst from the start, when the coaching staff pitched him on the top line with senior forwards Jake Slaker and Will Lockwood, the returning two highest scorers from the year before. He was given top-line minutes, but the top-line offense failed to click, and he was a large reason why.


For the second half of the season, Michigan coach Mel Pearson’s main focus for his team is increased attention to detail. So far, that’s entailed getting bodies in front of the net to take the goaltender’s eyes away and readying for rebound chances.

Michigan coach Mel Pearson is getting a boost with the addition of defenseman Jay Keranen.

Jay Keranen has been a Michigan fan since Day 1.

Now, the defenseman and native of Brighton, Mich., is joining the Wolverines’ hockey team for the second half of the year.


DETROIT — There’s a saying written at the bottom of the stairs leading from the Michigan locker room to the ice at Yost Ice Arena.

Each day, when the Wolverines take the ice for practice or a game, they take in the message.

Every play matters.